Statistical crime from 2015 to 2016 shows a mixed bag with murders and rapes down while felony larceny, motor vehicle thefts, shooting incidents and shooting victims up. Overall, factoring in all categories, crime increased during that period by roughly three percent, according to crime stats compiled by the city.
The number of murders decreased from 19 in 2015 to 10 in 2016, rapes were down during the same period from 75 to 58, robberies stayed roughly the same, burglaries decreased from 796 to 645.
Felony assaults increased from 230 in 2015 to 316 in 2016, felony larceny increased from 86 to 151, motor vehicle thefts jumped from 569 to 664.
The number of shooting incidents increased from 81 in 2015 to 89 in 2016 and the number of shooting victims jumped from 96 in 2015 to 121 in 2016.
For statistical purposes the city is broken down into three sections, east, west and central with Park Avenue going west and the Pequonnock River going east the general dividing markers.
The western section had two murders in 2016 compared to five in 2015; central four murders to nine; east four murders to five. Western section crime increase by about five percent, central by three percent and east about 1.5 percent for the aggregate three percent increase citywide.
Capricious crime stats can be a gigantic toothache for mayors. So often they are outside of law enforcement agency control. One thing a mayor can control over time is the size of the police department. The city has lost dozens of officers the past two years to retirements and other departments. Mayor Joe Ganim was in a similar situation during JG1 and over time the department ranks grew to well over 400 personnel. It is currently under 400 which can stretch overtime costs to fill out deployment goals.
Let’s talk about the real crime in all this. “The number of shooting incidents increased from 81 in 2015 to 89 in 2016 and the number of shooting victims jumped from 96 in 2015 to 121 in 2016.”
Why were there 121 shooting victims and only 10 died? It has very little to do with police work when compared to the work of the medical expertise of ambulance crew and the trauma teams in both of our hospitals. It’s a crime for politicians to use low homicide numbers to make it seem like they are taking control. Anyone ever heard of the City Council or the mayor awarding plaques or honoring the medical teams who have saved many lives and have even brought some back from death? Other reasons for the drop in shooting deaths other than poor aim or luck seems to be most shooters or potential shooters are not using hollow-point bullets as they are harder to get. Of the 121 shootings, how many of the shooters have been arrested? A big OIB shout-out to the Medical Staff of St. Vincent and Bridgeport Hospitals, ambulance crews, and those who drove themselves or others to the hospital. BTW, there were a few who got shot and did not seek medical attention.
Joel, don’t forget in most of those calls you mention it’s the fire department that gets there first because of their location all over the city and they will give an assessment for the medical team when they arrive.
Uniformed budgeted and filled positions on PD roster as of first day of fiscal year 2001 were 470, 2006 431, 2011 398 and 2016 350. That is a pretty steady decrease in personnel that should have been noticed by Mayor’s Office, OPM, Council liaison to Police Department, Police Commission and Union representative, concerned that too much overtime might take a physical toll in terms of stress on Police personnel. Was it seen? Was it reported anywhere? Who was responsible for letting it persist? Who was irresponsible? Were other approaches available to reform the Police Department continuing to operate in the “red zone” or negative variances too long? Time will tell.
JML, thanks for the stats. Be interesting to know what overtime numbers were under then-Chief Chapman (currently charged with reeling in overtime) during 2001-2003 when he led the department with more than 100 sworn officers than today.
JML, it’s not as simple as you make it. Let’s look at the present number of 350. There are approximately 70 officers who have close to or more than 25 years of service. I know quite a few and I’ve asked them if they are retiring. Most don’t know if or when exactly they will retire. Any one of them or all of them with 25 years or more can wake up tomorrow and turn in their badges with the paperwork. Add to this the rookies or recently hired cops (the very young ones) who can leave after three years and not worry about losing three years off the retirement clock. Still think it’s that easy?
Where in the article above did I say it was easy? What I reported to you were FACTS compiled by the Police Department each year. If I provided data for each of the years where in 15 years, there were 11 years with decreases and four years slight increases does such data make it reasonable for leadership and management, wherever that authority and responsibility resides, to notice this change? And would they begin to be concerned about the Overtime payout status as we have for about six years now? And wouldn’t they also know that under ordinary circumstances a remedy will take at least several years, during which additional employees may retire? And if a chart were also kept of those with 25 years employment who are eligible to retire, that number could be tracked as well and its impact understood. It’s evidence. It’s about building a case or story to cover the facts, man, just the facts, as Jack Webb used to say. And wouldn’t the public have been served better, had it been so? Anybody out there with an idea or two to get distorted Police Department budgets under control? TIME WILL TELL.
JML, I didn’t say it was “easy” either. Go back and read. You didn’t say or imply it wasn’t hard either.
“… does such data make it reasonable for leadership and management, wherever that authority and responsibility resides, to notice this change?” I’d ask you, do you think they don’t notice? I’m not sure if everyone with responsibility to notice or pay attention to BPD staff level do so. I do know here and in many news articles the issue has definitely been discussed and surely noticed by many. That’s where the challenges begin and the question of what to do about it is kicked around.
During the Finch and Gaudett administration, the former Police Chief pushed for forced retirement of many officers, one in particular had broken a leg and had operations done. He had planned to retire soon and on his terms. The long-term impact of the injury caused much pain and hindered his ability to be out on patrol and he was placed in the Property room until he was forced to retire at a time when the department was short on manpower, many were retiring etc. For every action there is a reaction, a down-side or other side of the coin.
There is a difference between the number of personnel coming up for retirement eligibility and those who have made the decision to retire. Just because they are eligible to retire at 25 years, doesn’t mean they must.
“Anybody out there with an idea or two to get distorted Police Department budgets under control?”
I don’t see anything in the PD budget that can be classified as “distorted.” I do know in every department budget and the management of that budget, sometimes reality kicks in when time starts telling.
Come back to ground and sit with me. The Police Department budget sent out by the City and passed by the City Council last year is “phony.” In today’s terms, it show “alternate truth” for the proposed and now current FY 2017. But it is not “honest” or the “full truth” because the number of officers shown as Full Time Employees is neither the current number as of July 1, 2016 (first day of fiscal year) or spring 2016 when the budget was being reviewed, AND IT WAS NOT A NUMBER POSSIBLE OF BEING ATTAINED IN 2016-17 through the creation of two classes. So why use a phony number? 100 new police gross was going to take at least TWO years if not more because of the 10-month training cycles and other practical factors. And how many retirees might reduce the police roster at any time? Don’t we have enough of the make-believe or alternate reality showing up on the national radar daily? Trust but verify, and they cannot verify the numbers as actual, and they do not footnote the charts they post with an explanation, nor did they post totals for the 10 department divisions or a grand total. Taxpayers must do the math themselves. Will the presentation improve this year? Time will tell.
The spike in crime in the 138th District has been outrageous.
Since August, we have had a kidnap, three rapes, two murders, a significant drug raid, the largest mass shooting in Bridgeport’s history that injured 13 people, a professional ring removing tires overnight and leaving cars on milk crates and cinder blocks, many burglaries, assaults and robberies, etc.
It has been absolutely disgraceful.
I noticed your concern is “Since August.” Sounds like prior to August, your district was okay. Did you express your appreciation for that? You even recognized it’s a “spike.” A spike can happen at any time anywhere because crime is mobile. Instead of or as part of a Christmas Party with tree lighting and all that nice stuff. You could have saved your attack on the mayor and council members and work with them to address crime issues in the 138th. Leaving the porch light or even the Christmas lights on at night could serve as a deterrent. Indeed a disgraceful loss of opportunity to work towards solutions.
I just love when people who don’t do anything in their community have so much to say about what others are doing in their community.
Public Safety, development, taxes, etc. are issues under the Mayor and City Council Representatives’ responsibility, not the members of the 138th TC.
We were elected to the 138th TC and six of us have kept every promise. We promised to organize a minimum of two community building events annually, not be beholden to Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim, nor work for the city so our only loyalty would be to our constituents.
We organized a 138th Community Forum on 9/11. Every seat was filled. The crime in our district was specifically a topic of discussion.
We held two Christmas Tree Lightings which were greatly appreciated and a huge success.
We organized another community meeting to block the building of two apartment buildings in a one-family home residential zone, and we successfully defeated the proposal. Senator Gomes, Charlie Stallworth, Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith were all invited. We emailed Stallworth and he never responded nor did he attend. Anthony and Nessah confirmed their attendance and then neither showed up. Anthony emailed me that morning he had to go to a birthday gathering and Nessah just didn’t show. Only Senator Gomes attended.
We are already working on our next event.
Joel, please share with us what work you have done on behalf of your community.
What other TC has put in the work we have?
I look forward to your detailed response.
By the way Joel, I will say what I wish to say about Mayor Ganim and our City Council members.
Unlike you, I worked seven days a week and countless hours to get them all elected. I raised $10,000 for Ganim and a couple of thousand for Paoletto and Smith. I didn’t do it to get paid or to get a city job like John Gomes, Danny Roach, Tom Gaudett, AJ Perez, Gina Malheiro, Charlie Stallworth, Tom Coble, Ken Flatto, etc.
I did it based on Ganim’s commitments around public education and our 21,000 students. He did not keep a Single commitment. Not one.
Anthony and Nessah did not keep a single commitment either.
I will absolutely work to defeat them at the polls. I don’t tolerate politicians lying to me. I believe in holding EVERY politician accountable. And that is exactly what I intend to do.
Lennie, I think it would be important if we knew where you got these statistics. Bridgeport PD, FBI? Is there a full report we can access? Do you have a link? Thank you.
Madeline Dennis Raleigh
Madeline, hard-copy stats compiled and provided by Bridgeport Police Department.
Madeline, get on your Raleigh bicycle and ride to the PD and get it. You folks with blogs and Fb pages keep expecting others to get these types of information for you. Like I’ve told Lennie plenty of times, get off your asses and while you’re at it, take off the rose-colored glasses. 🙂
Joel, no need to get on a bicycle. I asked the city press director for the crime statistics and he emailed a digital copy to me. Here they are posted on my Bridgeport In The Know Facebook page:
And anyone who knows me knows I do not wear rose-colored glasses, far from it.–Madeline Dennis Raleigh
Where can the public see the full report?
I requested the information. It was provided in hard-copy. If someone wants a full report they’d have to do the same. It’s not currently available on city website or Open Bridgeport portal.
Thanks for the details, Lennie. I will get a copy and see if I can get it made public, too.
What does the police department do with the stats it collects?
If there is an uptick in crime somewhere do they make an effort to reduce it? If not, what is the point in keeping track? The district reps should be pounding on the chief’s door demanding a plan to reduce crime in their areas.
Robberies, burglaries and financial crimes need as much attention as some of the shootings. More often than not a shooting victim is silent with details of how they were shot and who shot them. The shootings are the result of the company they keep and what they are involved in.
Burglaries and robberies are traumatic and have long-lasting effects on the victims. A police report does little aiding in the capture of the suspect or suspects. Perhaps a better plan with an investigation beyond police report is in order.
All a report does is give the city another negative mark. Items stolen often are sentimental and can’t be replaced. Perhaps if some of these burglars are caught there might be a chance something might be found. You hear of a smaller town catching a burglar by a fingerprint or DNA. You can’t tell me these city burglars are not leaving fingerprints and DNA. What is being done to collect it?
Are the pawn shops buying stolen property? I am sure some are, what tradesperson sells their tools they make a living with?
Robbers sometimes set up their victims like Chinese and pizza delivery people. Just the other day in Milford a Chinese delivery man was set up and robbed of his car and cellphone. The car was later crashed and ONE of two suspects were caught.
The crime stats should be posted like the earnings of the cops and hard questions be put to the administration, what is being done to reduce crime. Adding cops to fill vacancies is nothing. If a cop has to run from call to call where is the time to stake out an area?
There has to be a better way to catch burglars and robbers. Catching a shooting or homicide suspect is one thing. Yes it does happen and seems to capture all the headlines. What is the cost-to-benefit analysis on those cases?
What is the ratio of robbery and burglary arrests to shootings and homicides?
When was the last time any significant robbery or burglary arrest has made headlines in Bridgeport?
Stringfellow, one thing stats are good for is to identify patterns and hot spots. How helpful is this practice in solving the crimes already committed? I don’t know. Several years ago my upstairs neighbor’s apartment was burglarized and she expressed similar concerns like some above. Why weren’t fingerprints lifted? I asked a detective that question. I was told unless the total loss was $80,000 or more, no fingerprint lifting would be done.
I work at the PD. I’ve noticed since, some items taken from burglaries are dusted for prints. Most of the items are safes and those small ATM machines you see in stores. I know in most of those ATM machines there was no $80,000 as most of them have less than $10,000. I’m not aware of any burglary in Bridgeport in which such a huge amount was taken. Why are they dusted for prints? The only logical reason I can muster is maybe the authorities think it’s being done by an organized ring. Then again, who is to say many of the different burglaries aren’t being perpetrated by the same group or person?
$80,000? The city spends that much when one of the locals gets shot. If they are killed it’s even more, just look at what some detectives made in overtime last year.
So they put a dollar amount if they are going to take fingerprints. How many burglaries can one or more burglars do before or if they are caught?
The ATM thefts must be pretty easy considering how many there have been. By the time they find the ATM the weather has washed away the forensic evidence. In the meantime the owner has a significant loss as does the store merchant.
So if this is the case I suggest everyone look their homes over for weaknesses where a burglar can get in. Record serial numbers of all valuable items and electronics. Keep and eye out for suspicious activity in your neighborhood.
Buy cameras if you can afford them. See if your neighbors can buy cameras too. Set them up so they can watch each others homes and capture license plates of any suspect vehicle. Form neighborhood watches, get to know your neighbors.
Be vigilant, keep lights on at night, use motion detectors. Do a proactive approach to home security before you fall victim to a burglary.
ALL the crime stats. All the Police Department stats including negotiation of the next contract are being stifled by Joe Ganim and his co-conspirators. If you want honest and open information about the Police Department, your next chance is the next mayoral election of 2019(?). BTW, I think these four-year terms for Mayor of Bridgeport was a BIG mistake. Mayor of Bridgeport has the same term of office as the President of The United States. WRONG! Need to go back to two-year terms.
Add Chuck Paris, Armando Perez, Katie Bukovsky and members of the City Council Ordinance Committee to the list of co-conspirators.
Perhaps the city should look into a management system if there is such a thing. There would be more oversight on how money is spent and who is getting hired.
Perhaps this system will reduce waste and see that fees and fines are collected too. It’s time there is an oversight committee to ask the hard questions to department heads. What did you and your department do this week? Examine ways a department can be run more efficiently and cost effectively.
We ask ourselves if we can afford a new purchase or a home improvement project. If we can’t we don’t do it until we can afford it.
The city can’t rubber stamp projects to make other people happy.
Let the mayor go kiss babies but not steal their lollipops.
Don’t know who you are but you are barking about the need for watchdogs, around City fiscal and process issues at a minimum. Of course, Andy Fardy and I started on this subject more than six years ago as Budget Oversight Bridgeport (BOB for short) and have been ignored more often than not. However, little by little, some stories that are scandalous have come to light where conflicts of interest, greed, and waste of City resources shows up and must be explained. That is where we are now. Watch the news in this budget cycle. Better yet join us in the work. Will you call me at 203-259-9642 and join in the battle? TIME WILL TELL.
Who is going to explain these scandals, conflicts and waste? If a watchdog group wasn’t well received, what has changed in six years? How many scandals have there been where an impartial investigation was even started? Why do you suppose there is so much resistance? The reasons are mentioned in your post I am sure there are many more too.
It all starts with effective leadership but who does the mayor have to answer to? This is the reason why there should be a management committee to review projects and how money is being spent. This committee would have the power to call in departments heads who would have to explain what their people are doing.
The committee members cannot be employees of the city or related to anyone who is.
When is the next meeting on the budget cycle going to be held?
I did obtain the Bridgeport 2015-2016 crime comparison statistics from the Bridgeport police department. Here they are posted on my Bridgeport In The Know Facebook page:
–Madeline Dennis Raleigh